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The Hill Tribe People of Myanmar

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There are over one hundred ethnic groups in Myanmar. Many can be found in the hills around the city of Keng Tung in the Shan State of Myanmar. The Shan State is in eastern Myanmar bordered by China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south. It is an area that is familiar with the production of opium and civil war.

To visit the hill tribes from Keng Teng, there is up to a 2 hour drive and then uphill treks of one to seven kilometers.

A steep climb leads to the Weng Seng area and the Loi tribe. This Loi man offered to show his rifle and his tattoos.

Loi long house in the rolling hills of the Shan State. Up to eight families will live in this building.

Loi Women in long house. On the right are strips of pork being smoked.

This is an Akhu women at the Wan Sai village which is close to Keng Tung. The Akhu are known for smoking hand made bamboo pipes..

The Akhu woman live into their 80s and 90s with minimal medical care. The Akhu men seldom live past 60.

Women of the Palaung Tribe. They identify themselves as Ta'ang.

These two women are from the Akar tribe. They are high up in a pine forest to gather wood.

The man in the middle is the mayor of the village I visited. The woman on the right is his mother. The woman on the left is his wife.

An old Akar woman coming back to the village after filling her basket with wood. All cooking and heating is done with wood.

Akar Women on Mountain Trail

These are Eng women. They are known for their black teeth. They believe black teeth are attractive and chew tree bark and beetle nut to darken them.

Eng children come to meet us as we enter their village.

Eng woman with ear ornaments.

Eng boy shows us his sling shot.

Eng sister caring for little brother.

Eng women sitting among bamboo trees.

All photographs are by Stephen Wallace, M.D., J.D.
Oceanside, California

Special Thanks to Sai Noom Seng (Matt) in Keng Tung and Mya Min Din (MM) of Santa Maria Travel and Tours of Yangon.